Where's Frankie?

An easy mistake to make

Sunday 5th April

Making our slow way north we aimed for an aire at Barragem Pego do Altar, halfway between where we were and Evora, somewhere we had marked in our map book as a place worth visiting. We’d heard about the barrages before, reservoirs (and the dams) and since it was free we had to give it a go.

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We arrived lunchtime and it was pretty well full up with about 12 units there already, although we did find another car park the other side of the dam which we could have used. Chairs out and sit and enjoy the very hot sun, watch the swifts darting about and a lone eagle hovering overhead looking for the fattest swift I suppose.

The next morning there was a dense fog caused by the heat and proximity to water.

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20 minutes later it had started to clear. We were going to stay for two nights but managed to reach a smart decision, we’d go into one of the larger towns and check out all the Easter processions and excitement. 

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Evora was our destination. A very large walled town with a history spanning thousands of years. All the usual suspects have been here, some left bigger marks that others. Above is the Temple of Diana, nothing to do with Diana other than she had a lot of temples and they didn’t know what else to call it. Until 1835 this had been the butchers shop.

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Lots of shops in alley ways, and I mean lots and lots of shops and all open on Good Friday!

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These hats are made out of cork. It is very soft and feels very much like leather but you’re not going to drown in a cork hat. Also for sale were cork handbags, aprons and bowls.

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Evora had half a dozen squares, many with open air bars and cafes. We’d just come out of the Tourist Office, mainly to find a map of the town and seeing as the Tourist Guide spoke perfect English Lucy plucked up the courage to ask when the Easter parades would be. “Yesterday”, she was told, “What, on a Thursday?”, “No, yesterday was Friday, today is Saturday”. Mistake number 1. Lucy 1 Mark nil.

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Horse tours behind two of the smelliest horses I have ever got close enough to sniff.

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Part of the fortifications.

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Tiny little alleys, we did see one motorhome drive into the walled area, luckily Stella had been behaving.

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The Romans have been here.

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This viaduct was right next door to the aire we stayed in.

A Rapido motorhome pulled up next to us with a Citreon engine and I thought to myself that I’d seen them before. When I looked to see where he was from the number plate had BZH which is obviously Bosnia and Herzegovina and I remembered seeing exactly the same van with the same BZH plates at Manta Rota. My Bosnian is even worse than my Portuguese but we managed to work out that he could speak French so we started having a chat about were he’d been but he hadn’t been to Manto Rota. I was thinking that his French was very good for a Bosnian, no hint of an accent and I said that you don’t get to see many Bosnians. “What do you mean?” I said, “you’re from Bosnia”, “no I’m not, I live in Limoge”, “but why the BZH?”, “BZH stands for Breizh, an area in France”. Lucy 1, Mark 1  The Bosnians left late in the afternoon, I guess anywhere is better than next to a crazy Englishman.

A Portuguese van pulled up the other side and I said Bom Dia as you do and he started babbling away so I had to say “noa fala Portuguese” which made them both laugh. I’ve just told them that I don’t speak Portuguese but in fluent Portuguese, yes I know, it wasn’t that funny but I end up sitting out with this guy all night long talking to him in Portuguese. For some reason no one wants to try my red wine, I had some which was €1.50 a bottle and he turned his nose up at it. I had to pretend that his red wine was much nicer than mine.

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Next stop was Coruche, a strange little place. The aire was tucked away behind Lidls (closed for International Chocolate Egg Day) and next to a bus station. There was enough space to get 60 motorhomes in, the rectangular boxes are electric points with water taps next to them and the big round things are the biggest dustbins you’ve ever seen. Each one had a black bin liner inside it but they must have been 4’ diameter and 10’ deep.

We were the only van there, it looked bleak, there were broken windows on the entry and exit office block and we weren’t keen on staying so we just filled up and emptied out and moved on.

Lidl’s might be closed but Pingo Doce, Intermarche and Continente supermarkets were all open and all selling diesel at €1.119 per litre.

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And found another barragem, 

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With a cafe on top of the dam. There were lots of people out enjoying the sun so we went for a walk around the reservoir and this is what we saw:- A water snake, tadpoles, terrapins, fish, lots of lines of ants, baby ducks, eagles and a much quieter car park tucked almost out of sight.

We moved over to the new car park and got our chairs out and sat by the waters edge reading Kindles. All of a sudden 5 Portuguese motorhomes turned up and parked around us, lots of noise and laughter so I asked one of them if they were staying the night. Oh no, this is not a good place to stay, we are here for some food and then we move on. Stupid Mark shouldn’t have asked:- Lucy 1, Mark 2

We had been happy to stay exactly where we were but they showed us a good place to go about 20 miles away and we decided to move on to Vila Nova de Barquinha which is where we are now. It was chock a block full of cars when we arrived and the motorhome spaces had been taken but we’ve found a nice little spot and will explore in the morning.

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